Now, as grammar is the rationalization of something that already exists, and that people use unconsciously, philosophy is the rationalization of a certain tacit conception of the world, a conception of which we are often unaware, that is hidden to our minds, but that nonetheless informs our perceptions, behaviors, and, ultimately, culture. This unaware, unconscious background we could call the “pre-philosophical background.”

To understand what is meant by “pre-philosophical background,” we may introduce an example. In pre-Christian Greece, in fact since before Homer and Hesiod, the gods were thought to enjoy immortality, while men were on the other hand mortals; yet, immortality here means that even the gods were essentially present in the world, subjects to its cycles and to fate. The gods, for the archaic Greeks, were of the same nature as human beings, their only distinction being that they did not die. This is manifest in Homer and Hesiod, for example. They could and did intervene in human affairs, and one of the goals of sacrificing and praying was to ask something from them for our own benefit.